Inspired by Sean “Diddy” Combs’ successful “State Of Emergency: The State of Black America & Coronavirus” town hall, “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” is a platform that is designed to report news from the perspective of black people, for black people.
Monday (June 1) night’s “REVOLT BLACK NEWS” episode titled “AmeriKKKa: Anger Fans The Flame” focused primarily on the escalation of police brutality and excessive force against the black community since the killing of George Floyd. This in-house panel discussion expo featured expertise from well-respected cultural and political figures including Tamika Mallory, Mysonne NY General, Dondre T. Whitfield, Director X, and more.
As the opening credits displayed horrific scenes from protestors being brutally beaten by police to barricades being run over by law enforcement vans to police on horseback running over civilians, the compilation of videos within the first few seconds were more than enough to fire up anyone watching — if they weren’t already.
“George Floyd is not the first one that we have been actively engaged in fighting for,” Mallory starts off strong while speaking about the horrific events that have occurred in Minneapolis in a little over a week’s time. “I have friends who were in Ferguson when they were being tear gassed and there was a lot of resistance happening, and I’ve only experienced something like that similar, but not as crazy as what happened in Minneapolis one time in my life. What we experienced was a war zone.”
Mysonne chimes into the conversation about his hands-on experience traveling around the country — New York to Kentucky — to hold a memorial for Breonna Taylor and her family, then making his way to Indiana where three more young people were killed at the hands of police. Two of whom were shot, and the other a pregnant woman who had been run over by an officer. From there, he was informed of the news about Floyd and drove ten hours from Indiana to Minneapolis and upon arrival, he noticed, and was confused by, a gated barrier around the police station.
Later that same night, a nonviolent protest began around the police station, but later took a turn for the worse once police officers began to shoot rubber bullets and throw tear gas into the crowd. As he recalls people dropping on the ground left and right, not being able to catch the breath in their lungs, himself included, Mysonne was not prepared for what would soon come.
“It was literally a war zone, and from that moment, that’s when the fires and looting started,” Mysonne says to Mallory. “Prior to that, there was no looting, no fires, none of that activity.”
“A lot of white folks were there though,” Mallory observed aloud. She noticed that white people were causing a lot of destruction, breaking glasses to break into stores, and going the extra mile to participate in the looting. While she’s not dismissing the black people who were participating in looting, Mallory subtly calls out the lack of focus on the white community’s participation in the activity. “I don’t know if people see that on the news ‘cause I haven’t seen it on the news, but I know that white folks were there,” she says.
She didn’t take away from those white people who “understood how to be a good ally,” but there were some who “were just a little bit more angry than us,” as she so eloquently put it. Mysonne agreed that some members of white people are witnessing the intensity of racism they had never before visualized, in the public video of George Floyd’s death, which is sparking this fire to stand with the black community.
Shifting the conversation to community leaders and activists, Mallory brings the attention to how the focus — or struggle — is primarily figuring out “what’s next” and “to get us to a place where we can actually be free.”
“If your goal is actually freedom, that’s a hell of a burden to carry,” she recognizes in comparison to the goals of some who may just want to pass a law or get a few people in office. In a time where nearly 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment during COVID-19 and our healthcare system is evidently nothing to brag about, Mallory expresses the wide range of concern and confusion that falls upon the conversation of the black agenda. “No one of us can deal with the whole agenda,” she states. “Each one of us has to figure out what’s our passion and work in that area.”
Mallory goes on to express her belief that we should not shy away from the idea of turning to presidential hopeful Biden for help. Though the goal is to get rid of Trump, she says that we should still turn to Biden with our needs as part of the black agenda, and ask him about what he and the Department of Justice plans to do about the failing relationship between police officers and communities of color.
“In order to win, we also need to be strategic,” Mallory says to all the young people watching “REVOLT BLACK NEWS,” who she encourages to also be loved on by the older generation. “Find you some elders that you respect. Find those elders that you know are going to go to bat for you,” Mysonne adds.
Director X appears for the next segment and encourages all viewers to utilize their screen time for the greater good. As he reminds us of the power we have through social media and the spread of news online in the instances of Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, he says, “It’s also the way that we know there are outside agitators in these riots causing trouble, breaking windows and starting the fires.” X continues to shed light that those starting the literal fires are also fueling the metaphorical ones of the negative narrative against black protestors.
While Fox News calls on black leaders, churches and schools to wave their magic wand to defeat racism, looting and police brutality when it is indeed the outside provocateurs and agitators who stir the pot, Director X adds, “It’s a way for them to change the conversation from the murder of George Floyd and the constant brutality by police in our community to how our community behaves on a regular basis.” He encourages us to tweet, film, record and use our phones to tell more positive stories than those being written for us. Let’s take our power back.
Recording artist Erica LeShai opens up the next discussion by entering with, “Our minds are so powerful that there’s been an ongoing effort to control it because if we’re enslaved mentally, then there won’t even be a physical fight.” The Soul Alchemist singer continued say that we are too strong to fold at the hands of racial trauma, and that we come from powerful beings and ancestors. “Our minds are so powerful that we’ve created a culture out of nothing that everyone is addicted to,” LeShai continues.
When our children speak, it breaks our hearts to hear that they’re hurting too, and possibly suffering in silence out of fear and uncertainty that their lives may become a hashtag. Alanna Haley expresses fear of having a natural born target on her back because of the color of her skin and Nalah Sullivan begins to tear up as she sees her own family in a potential line up of victims who can become the next #DontShoot or #BlackLivesMatter.
Mason Perry relies on victorious memories of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emancipation Proclamation to keep moving forward in hopes that there is “a light at the end of the tunnel” and “it is in the near future.” Walker Perry takes pride in the beautiful essence of being black because he recognizes the resilience of our people when there’s a target on our backs.
“It definitely makes me angry sometimes because two people can do the same thing, commit the same crime, [and] the only thing that differs them is their skin color — one is white one is black,” Kevin Honorio says about racial injustice and distribution of harsher punishments. Student Dante Smith is angry because he believes that police officers don’t recognize the innocent young lives that they’re taken.
Racial and gender justice activist — and self-considered abolitionist — Brea Baker is up next and her work for the past eight years locally, nationally, and globally was not gone unrecognized during this broadcast. “We have to free our people from the bellies of this criminal justice system,” she said, as she lists her work on Meek Mill’s campaign, Pedro Hernandez, and police brutality victims.
“This system tries to keep us reactive and defensive when I’m trying to dismantle this whole thing altogether,” Baker adds. “When we want justice, it’s not just an arrest. We want convictions, we want to ensure that it never happens again.”
Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors and Minneapolis’ own Oluchi Omeoga, co-founder of Black Visions Collective, then begin to hold conversation. “Folks don’t actually realize the racial tension that is happening in Minneapolis and happening in the twin cities. They’re just fed up,” Omeoga expresses to Cullors about how Floyd’s death made us rally and how Minneapolis became a catalyst. As he explains that the viral video displayed a slow and painful death as opposed to a quick shot, Omeoga recognizes the rise in anguish as people watched a man pleading for his life.
Cullors agreed with Omeoga and added that COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and publicly witnessing another death of a black man added insult to injury of feeling trapped in our own homes. “Who would’ve thunk that during a global pandemic that’s impacting black people the most that we would then have to go to protest to challenge being terrorized by the police?” Cullors asked rhetorically, laughing but serious.
Actor Dondre Whitfield arrives to explain the importance of mental health conversations and why it is impossible to be okay during this time as a black man. When tested by people about why he remains in the country in which he complains so much about, Whitfield simply answers, “My ancestors’ blood fertilized this soil; you brought us here, [and] we built this country off the lives and backs of my ancestors.” Thus, he shouldn’t have to leave a country where he has just as much of a birthright as anyone else.
“There is no bigger or greater patriot in this country than black people,” Whitfield explains that though this country has continuously demonstrates the lack of f*cks they give about us, we “still show up every single day to do what a responsible citizen is supposed to do.” By quoting Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and James Baldwin; he challenges viewers to actively listen to the cries of the black community and address the needs of our people who are in a constant state of grief.
Closing out the conversation, Whitfield notes the famous saying, “The revolution will not be televised,” but alerts us that times have changed since then and “the revolution will be televised.”
Our cries of anger and grief are neither sudden nor subtle, but have been present for hundreds of years loud and clear. In our music, in our fashion, in our books and in the streets of protests outside of police stations, we have been crying aloud only for our volume to be turned down by the system that was never built in our favor to begin with.
America, you’ve got a serious problem on your hands.